Board of Director 2023-2027
ANGIE LOVEGROVE- PRESIDENT
Angie Lovegrove is the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother, Edelmira Alicea Sandel and English & Portuguese father, Frederick William Lovegrove. Angie’s mother and father separated when Angie and her three other siblings, a sister and two brothers, were all under the age of six, and were then raised primarily by their mother. She and her siblings however continue to visit their father who now lives in Florida. During her formative years Angie was raised in a Puerto Rican culture filled with people that displayed and communicated the importance of being proud of being Puerto Rican. Angie was constantly reminded that although there is another side to her, being Puerto Rican is who she is. Angie speaks both English and Spanish. Out of a fear of losing her Spanish language, Angie has always sought out and committed herself to organizations, work and play, that allow her to continue to use her Spanish language. Angie is the oldest of four siblings and has made sure she and her siblings visit the Island of Puerto Rico as often as possible, especially Arroyo where their mother was born and laid to rest. Thanks to her mother, Salsa music and Salsa dancing are Angie’s favorite music and dance to date. It was in fact Angie’s mother that introduced her to Salsa and taught her the dance. As a child Angie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. She moved to Rhode Island in 1974, at the age of 17. After leaving a couple of times she returned for good in 1979. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology. Angie is currently a long time resident of East Providence, Rhode Island, where she lives with her husband Alan. She is the mother of an adult daughter and son, and the grandmother of four granddaughters. In 2021 Angie retired as the Fair Housing Project Director for the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights after 30 years of employment. Since retiring she has continued her other passions of community advocacy by volunteering her time as a member of the Cape Verdean Progressive Center, Puerto Rican Professionals of Rhode Island, East Providence Affirmative Action Committee, East Providence Personnel Hearing Board, and as of February 2023, has accepted the position as President of Puerto Rican Institute for The Arts and Advocacy, Inc.
BRENDA L. VALENZUELA
Native Rhode Islander born and raised. I am a recent graduate in Systems Administration. My academic journey was long and hard-earned coming to completion during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Currently, I am the Coordinator for the Student Registration Center for the Providence Public School District and have served over 20 years in the Providence community. I am a proud descendant of Carribean parents, wife, and mother of three children. My hope is to bring my administrative, community and organizational experience to enhance and support the PRIAA community.
Amanda DeGrace lives in Providence and is a proud native of New Bedford, Ma. Agerter working over 15 years in the non-profit and public sector, she has recently joined the Providence Housing Authority. By night she is as an apprentice at the Puerto Rican Institute for the Arts and Advocacy in Pawtucket and will start teaching at College Unbound.
The Content I create is making the case for community-driven real estate projects and programs.
My work is inspired by spatial justice, both in my industry work and creatively. We must do our part to literally carve out and build spaces everyone is welcomed to be part of. To me we all need housing, health, arts, culture and nature.
My proudest moment in my career as content creator is every time a proposal attracts new funds to an overlooked project.
OLGA SILVA, DIRECTOR
Olga Silva has been a community and political activist for years in Central Falls. She founded, organized, and promoted the Fiesta de Pueblo in Central Falls, since its creation in 1996, to its final year in 2005, with PRIAA backing her up every step. She is the Director of the Blackstone Valley Puerto Rican Cultural Committee.
GINA SILVA, DIRECTOR
Gina Camacho is Olga Silva's assistant in all matters concerning Fiesta de Pueblo, organizing the Children's Parade, registration and its costumes. She is a coordinator of the Blackstone Valley Puerto Rican Cultural Committee.
Gilberto Mota-México, Providence
Rebecca Flores- Puerto Rico, Cranston
Shey Rivera, Puerto Rico, Providence
Liza Gordon-Perú, Cranston
L. Maria Rivera-Puerto Rico, Central Falls
Gladys Colvera-Baker, Bolivia
Carlos Santiago, Amherst, MA
Maria Perez, Springfield, MA
Veronica Robles, Boston, MA
Lydia E. Perez Nieves
Founder and CEO/Artistic Director
Lydia is the founder and the Artistic director of The Puerto Rican Institute for Arts and Advocacy (PRIAA), based in Rhode Island and founded in 1994. The institute champions the gathering and retention of cultural memory, language, and identity transmitting these across generations in the form of education through the arts, not only for Puerto Ricans, but for all Latinos and for all Rhode Island.
As the Founder and Executive Director of PRIAA, she has an extensive record of promoting activities that increase cross-cultural understanding, cultural awareness and self-esteem of children and adults.
Lydia has spent the last twenty Nine years as a performer, and cultural educator / activist in the U.S. Cuba and Puerto Rico. She is presenter, singer, drummer, dancer, composer, poetry and artisan. She has been recognized as a community asset by many organization in New England.
Through the arduous 28 years of Afro-Puerto Rican career in Rhode Island and throughout New England, Lydia Perez brings with her the Cultural Heritage Center place, where all the social and cultural activities of PRIAA for the Diaspora in Rhode Island and members of PRIAA are concentrated . More about Lydia Perez, here
Yidell Rivera, Director
Proposal writer, Committee
Yidell Rivera has work with the Puerto Rican Institute of the Arts since 2000 as an Assistant for the Board of
Director through her work as part of her Volunteer internship. She is an excellent proposal writer.
She has demonstrated leadership skills in computer media, including web site maintenance, video and audio recording, and photography.
She reviews all proposals and she will help develop promotional media, including video, band web design.